Coal train collides with oil machinery

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— A train that collided with a piece of mobile machinery on the railroad track near Milner Friday morning sustained around $5,000 in damage, but no one was injured.

The vehicle hit by the train was not a car or a truck, Colorado State Patrol Trooper Brad Keadle said, but a piece of mobile machinery used for oil work on private property about 2 miles west of Milner.

Keadle said he didn't know the estimated damage on the machine, but "It was messed up pretty bad," he said.

Keadle said the oil rig didn't stop far enough away from the railroad track.

"He parked 19 feet away to see if the train was coming," Keadle said. "But the oil rig was 21 feet long and ended up hanging over."

Keadle said a boom, or extended arm, of the machine caught the left front side of the train's engine.

"The train pushed it over on its side and dragged it 10 feet," Keadle said.

Keadle estimated the empty Union Pacific train was traveling west at under 50 miles per hour.

Keadle said the driver of the machine, 28-year-old Charles Danza of Vernal, Utah, was at fault.

"But the State Patrol doesn't usually issue citations for a wreck on private property unless it's a DUI," Keadle said.

Keadle said there are two or three railroad crossing accidents each year in Routt County. He stressed the train always has the right of way.

Keadle said the driver of the train, 45-year-old Gerald Ullerick of Phippsburg, told him he blew the whistle when he saw the vehicle on the tracks.

"The vehicle is always wrong. A train can't stop or turn to avoid a vehicle. There's not always a whistle at private crossings, but just because you can't see or hear a train, don't assume there's not one," Keadle said.

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